Chabon reads from the Yiddish Policemen’s Union

followed by Q&A session from the same reading.

I picked up the book in the Pittsburgh airport and have been enjoying its improbabilities. Not surprising that it’s a Nebula Award winner, and up for Hugo and Sidewise awards too. An example of its descriptive and analytical astuteness:

A pine box slick with rain pitches and tosses on the surf of weeping men. Satmars hold umbrellas over the heads of Verbovers. Gerers and Shtrakenzers and Viznitzers link arms with the boldness of schoolgirls on a lark. Rivalries, grudges, sectarian disputes, mutual excommunications, they’ve been laid aside for a day so that everyone can mourn with due passion a yid who was forgotten by them until last Friday night. Not even a yid –the shell of a yid, thinned to transparency around the hard void of a twenty-year junk habit. Every generation loses the messiah it has failed to deserve. Now the pious of the Sitka District have pinpointed the site of their collective unworthiness and gathered in the rain to lay it in the ground. (pg. 197)

I’m interested to see that Christianne Alarmist-Librarian identified the very same passage as the quintessence of the book…